President Extends Support To Pirate Hostages’ Families

Wed, 09 November 2011 | Piracy

President James Michel has visited the families of the two Seychellois fishermen, Rolly Tambara and Mark Songoire, who were taken hostage by Somali pirates on 2nd November, and are now being held in Somalia.

“I have come to offer my support and my commitment to ensure that our fishermen are brought back as soon as possible. As from this evening, we will be starting negotiations for their release,” President Michel said this morning.

The President spoke with the families and listened to their concerns for the safety of the fishermen, as well as the suffering they are enduring.

“We will do everything we can to ensure that the two fishermen are brought back to Seychelles, and contact has been established with them in Somalia,” the President reassured the families.

The President said the Seychelles Coast Guard would take more severe action against pirates as well as increasing aerial and maritime surveillance of the Seychelles Exclusive Economic Zone.

“We will be deploying more military assets on the islands as it is important that we maintain a presence and ensure the security of Seychellois and tourists. We are maintaining closer surveillance by air and by sea to ensure that the pirates do not approach the islands.”

The President also said that Seychellois fishermen needed to take extra precautions now as the region is seeing an increase in pirate attacks.

“We also need to ensure that all Seychellois fishermen have a vessel monitoring system on their boats, so if these kind of incidents happen, our Coast Guard can be alerted and react immediately to the distress call. We will also be setting up a security contingent, made up of Seychellois and foreign security specialists, who can be recruited on fishing vessels to protect them from pirate attack.”

The President also called on the international community to intensify its efforts to intervene in Somalia and resolve the instability in that country.

“The problem of Somalia is not a problem of Seychelles alone, it is an international problem, and the international community should ensure that something is done, however complex, to restore law and order in Somalia. It is only then that this piracy problem will be resolved.  The situation in Somalia has been allowed to drag on for too long,” said the President

Mr Michel said that Somalia could become a nesting ground for terrorism and the international community needs to address the issue with urgency.

The President was accompanied on the visit by Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sport, Vincent Meriton, and the Minister for Home Affairs, Environment, Transport and Energy, Joel Morgan.

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